Category Archives: Event

Congratulations to English Graduates! May 2018

Congratulations to the students who graduated last week!

English students and faculty at Convocation may 2018

English faculty and students at Spring Convocation 2018. Back, l to r: Dr. Graham Fraser, Dr. Diane Piccitto, Dr. Nathaniel Street, Nicole Martina, Megan Bruce, Alexandra Rudderham, Brittany George, Dr. Reina Green, Dr. Karen Macfarlane. Front, l to r: Katie O’Brien, Hope Tohme

Majors

Megan Bruce
Brittany George
Nicole Martina

Combined Major English and History

Micaela Singer

Honours

Katie O’Brien
with first-class honours and highest aggregate

Alexandra Rudderham
with first-class honours

Hope Tohme
with first-class honours

 

 

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AAUEC 2018 at the Mount

LAAUEC 2018 Annual Atlantic Undergraduate English Conferenceast weekend, the English Department at Mount Saint Vincent University welcomed students and faculty from eleven universities across the east coast for the Annual Atlantic Undergraduate English Conference (AAUEC), which showcases the academic papers and creative works of the region’s top English students. Founded here in 1981, this was the sixth time that the Mount has hosted the conference. Co-organized by Dr. Reina Green and Dr. Diane Piccitto along with conference assistants Katie O’Brien, Hope Tohme, and Sam VanNorden, the AAUEC 2018 was a resounding success!

Mount students at AAUEC welcome reception

Mount students at the welcome reception: Hope Tohme, Katie O’Brien, Rebecca Foster, and Courtney Francis

The conference began on Friday, March 2, in Seton Academic Centre with a Welcome Reception, where attendees participated in a lively round of icebreaker bingo – facilitated by English Society co-presidents Katie O’Brien and Hope Tohme – and heard a presentation by Formac Publishing to announce “Write to Win!” – a writing competition aimed at Atlantic Canadians 18-30 years old.

The afternoon included the first panel of the conference and was followed by ArtFest, held in the MSVU Art Gallery. Emceed by Alexia Major and Sam VanNordon (co-editors, with other MSVU students, of the Speakman Press), ArtFest featured short stories and poetry of participants and the work of special guests El Jones (MSVU’s Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies and poet and activist) and Chantelle Rideout (writer and MSVU English alumna), as well as a welcome address by Dr. Elizabeth Church (MSVU’s Vice-President Academic and Provost).

Day 2 – Saturday, March 3, was held in the Margaret Norrie McCain Centre, giving visitors a chance to spend time in the only building at a Canadian university to celebrate the achievements of women, highlighted in the Women’s Wall of Honour. The second day included four panels, covering topics such as ethics, bodies, politics, and trauma, and even involved one presenter from the Mount, Michelle Russell, Skyping in from Florida where she is training with the Canadian paddling team.

The afternoon ended in the Atrium with the Bad Poetry Reading, which was first begun by Dr. Chris Ferns (Professor Emeritus) in his days as an undergraduate and then initiated at the Mount in the 1980s, having since become an institution in the English Department. Dr. Ferns selected among the very worst poems written by published authors and emceed the event, charming the audience with his entertaining commentary over the course of the hour. Readers included past and current MSVU English students,  faculty members such as Professors Emeritus Dr. Susan Drain and Dr. Peter Schwenger, who performed memorable renditions of “Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight” and “The Tay Bridge Disaster,” respectively. Afterward, participants and volunteers celebrated the two-day conference with a closing-night banquet and dance party – with DJ extraordinaire Dr. Steven Bruhm (former MSVU English student and professor) in Rosaria’s Multi-Purpose Room.

Mount students at AAUEC 2018

Some of the Mount student volunteers. Front, left to right: Katie O’Brien, Nicole Martina, Alex Rudderham, Sidney Warren.  Back, left to right: Sarah Vallis, Darcy Eisan, Sam VanNorden, Megan Bruce, Hope Tohme

The conference was marked by a wonderful energy from beginning to end, creating a stimulating inter-university intellectual community for English students and faculty. See our earlier post here for a list of Mount presenters.

We would like to thank the more than 50 presenters who shared their work at the AAUEC 2018 and the faculty who accompanied students as well as our emcees, guest speakers, and DJ. Thank you also to the President’s Office and the Dean of Arts and Science for their very necessary financial support and to MSVU staff (Catering, Conference Services, Art Gallery, IT Services, Facilities, Communications, Marketing, and Recruitment, Research Office, Book Store, Print Shop, and Security). Finally, a very special thank you to our conference assistants, all of our volunteers, Tracy McDonald (English Department Administrative Assistant), as well as the entire English Department for their instrumental involvement and support over the last several months.

AAUEC dance

AAUEC dance

AAUEC 2018 starts today

Today the Mount welcomes English students from the Atlantic region for the Annual Atlantic Undergraduate English Conference. Students will be reading their academic papers and their creative work today and tomorrow and will be able to enjoy other events, such as the Friday ArtFest (with special guests El Jones and Mount alumna Chantelle Rideout) and Saturday’s always-comical Bad Poetry Reading and closing banquet and dance. The full program is available on the AAUEC website.

The University has published a story about the conference and a couple of the student presenters and volunteers, Samantha VanNorden and Alexia Major, which you can read here.

AAUEC 2018. msvu.ca

Samantha VanNorden and Alexia Major (from msvu.ca)

MSVU students presenting at the conference:

Rebecca Foster, “Howling for Love: Romance and Eroticism in Poetry by Allen Ginsberg”

Katie O’Brien, “‘It makes a goblin of the sun’: Fallen Women and the Male Gaze in Dante Gabriel’s ‘Jenny’ and Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’”

Michelle Russell,  “Cross-Cultural Dressing: Clothing and Trauma in Fatty Legs and A Stranger at Home

Kenya Thompson,  “capturing slipping memories”

Hope Tohme, “Sasha Jensen’s Self-Objectification: A Refusal of the Male Gaze in Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight

Sam VanNorden,  “hanging red”

In addition, a team of student volunteers, including some alumnae, will help to make this event a great weekend for all.

Dramatic reading of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The English Department is hosting a reading of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Wednesday, November 15th at 4:30 in Seton 404. All students, staff, and faculty are welcome. If you’re interested in reading a role, small or large, contact Dr. Diane Piccitto, or just come to listen. Refreshments will be served.

Oberon, Titania and Puk with Fairies Dancing by William Blake

Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing c.1786 William Blake

Our Indigenous Canadian Children’s Lit class welcomes Alan Syliboy

by Samantha VanNorden *

Alan Syliboy

 Dr. Alan Syliboy with his book, The Thundermaker

On October 10th, Dr. Alan Syliboy presented a talk to students and faculty at MSVU’s Aboriginal Student Centre. Dr. Syliboy began the discussion by giving the audience some context for his book The Thundermaker. For Syliboy, the reality of growing up as an indigenous person was that school was something for him to endure. He told us that while he and his family and friends were fluent in Mi’kmaq, he lost his fluency during his enrollment in a Catholic school, where indigenous students were not allowed to speak it. This sort of outlawing of speech led to dispersion of the language, and Syliboy explained that he is now having to relearn it. 

Syliboy art

Left: two of Syliboy’s cards with original artwork. Right: The Thundermaker cover and the back matter on the cards

These ideas of relearning and of finding voice are evident in the text of The Thundermaker. Little Thunder’s mother Giju is a storyteller, and it is through her that Little Thunder learns about his identity: to be the Thundermaker. Being the Thundermaker means Little Thunder must take his father’s place in the role, which suggests renewal, but it also has a larger meaning in the circle of life. The Thundermaker’s job is to strike the old dead trees and burn them to make room for new life. This, too, has markings of renewal, balance, and cyclicality. Little Thunder learns of this through the story cycles his mother tells him within the warmth of the wigwam.

Syliboy informed us that the story cycles were shared during the winter and explained that this telling and retelling of stories functions like a “hard drive,” in this case, grounding and reinforcing culture. To pass on these stories is seen as a responsibility, and Dr. Syliboy is certainly adding to the layers of storytelling with his visual artistry, his writing, and his book The Thundermaker.

The Thundermaker by Alan Syliboy

Syliboy signed a copy of The Thundermaker for MSVU professor Dr. Rhoda Zuk. He included some fabulous artwork as well

If you want to find out if Little Thunder succeeds in becoming the Thundermaker or about his journey on this path with friends such as Wolverine, you can (and should!) pick up a copy of The Thundermaker.

 You can purchase it from Nimbus Publishing here:
https://www.nimbus.ca/store/children-and-teen/children-4-8/thundermaker-the.html

Syliboy merchandise

Some of the merchandise available after Dr. Syliboy’s talk

Dr. Syliboy’s visit was arranged by Dr. Rhoda Zuk for her Indigenous Canadian Children’s Literature class (ENGL 3305).

* Samantha VanNorden is a fourth-year English student at the Mount. She is the English Department’s media assistant for 2017-2018.

Faculty to present at 2017 Atlantic Teaching Showcase

Teaching award winner David Wilson will be sharing some of his best ideas at the 2017 Teaching Showcase, to be held at the Mount on Saturday, October 14. Professor Wilson will be presenting in what is known as the “Furious Fives” session — a quick series of five-minute talks packed with ideas to take away from the conference. David Wilson offers this summary of his talk:

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https://i1.wp.com/www.msvu.ca/site/media/msvu/davidwilson.JPG

David Wilson, recipient of the 2017 MSVU Part-time Teaching Award

Does your class often end with a fade to black?

Rather than merely telling students during the last 5 minutes of a class what will happen in the next one, a more effective teaching practice is showing them. This “Furious Five” session will quickly demonstrate tips on how to briefly preview (and promote) a topic during the closing moments of a class that bridges what students have just learned, so that they will be curious and look forward to learning more in the next class. The final five minutes of a class can serve as a memorable pivot point that keeps students motivated. The key to accomplishing this goal is to capture students’ attention. Moreover, the best way to make these connections between classes is by using a lively activity that encourages participation. Thus, attendees at this session can expect to be involved in the fun.

 

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The experiential learning opportunities offered by our department will be on display during the conference as well.  Dr. Anna Smol will be organizing a display that features the English Department’s many hands-on learning activities, from participation at the Atlantic Undergraduate English Conference, to part-time jobs as writing tutors and research assistants, to the many course-related activities that our students engage in.

David Wilson‘s talk will be given on Saturday, October 14 in a session scheduled from  4:25 to 4:50 in McCain 105.

Anna Smol‘s experiential learning display will be in the Rosaria Terrace from 11:30 to 1:30.

The Saturday Teaching Showcase conference is part of a three-day series of events. On Thursday night at 7 p.m. a public lecture by special guest and keynote speaker James Lang, author of Small Teaching and Cheating Lessons, will take place in the Rosaria Multipurpose Room. A workshop with Dr. Lang will be held on Friday morning before the Showcase takes place on Saturday.  For details, including the schedule, see more information here.

 

Alan Syliboy visit, October 10

The English Department is pleased to present Alan Syliboy, author and illustrator of The Thundermaker. Dr. Syliboy is an internationally renowned Mi’kmaw painter, sculptor, filmmaker, musician, and social justice activist.

Tuesday, October 10
Noon
MSVU Aboriginal Student Centre

You can take a look at Syliboy’s art and listen to his music on his website: alansyliboy.ca, which also links to his Facebook page. You can also find him on Twitter, @AlanSyliboy, where you can see a daily sample of his artwork.  This image, posted on October 3, comes from his drum series:

Alan Syliboy, drum series. posted on Oct. 3, 2017 @AlanSyliboy

Drum Series, from @AlanSyliboy, posted October 3, 2017.

 

 

Dr Fraser to speak at Research Remixed

Dr. Graham Fraser will be one of the speakers at the Mount’s annual Research Remixed event on Tuesday, October 3rd. His talk is scheduled for 11:15 in the Multi-Purpose Room in Rosaria.  Here’s a preview of what he’ll be talking about:

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Virginia Woolf, Spectro-Modernism, and the Afterlife of Things

Dr. Graham Fraser
Tuesday, October 3, 11:15 a.m.
Multi-Purpose Room, Rosaria

“Think of a kitchen table, when you’re not there” challenges Andrew Ramsay in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, distilling his father’s empiricist philosophy. Woolf’s writings are fascinated by the world of objects removed from human perception or context – objects that are abandoned, disused, broken. Yet Woolf’s own attention to inanimate (yet lively) objects is so exquisite that Michel Serres can write that in her work, “inanimate objects have a soul.” This presentation will discuss how my work traces the progress of these inanimate souls from their domestic lives in human service, through their abandonment and decay, and finally into their afterlives as ghostly, illegible debris.

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Dr. Graham Fraser

Dr. Graham Fraser

You can read more about Dr. Fraser’s research here.

Research Remixed brings together researchers from across the university who present their work in short talks or posters. The event starts at 9 a.m. and goes until 1 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room in Rosaria.  All are welcome to drop in during the day.  You can download the full Research Remixed schedule here.

 

 

Dr Green on war and peace in art

Community Stories of War and Peace public lecture series

Dr. Reina Green, along with local artist Jessica L. Wiebe, will be speaking about representations of war and peace in art on Friday, September 29, at 1:30 in the Keshen Goodman Library.  Her talk is part of a series of Friday presentations organized by the Mount Network for Community-Engaged Research on War (NCERW) in collaboration with other community groups.

Dr. Reina Green

Dr. Reina Green

You can read more about Dr. Green’s research here.

The Network for Community-Engaged Research on War is interested in “exploring what stories of war and peace are being told, identifying which stories are more visible and which are marginalized, and understanding how war affects us in diverse and overlapping ways.”

All of the talks take place from 1:30 – 2:30 in the Keshen Goodman Public Library, 330 Lacewood Drive, Halifax. Other topics to be presented include military families, peace perspectives, refugee experiences, and the Halifax Explosion. For more details about future talks, please see the Community Stories poster [pdf 3.9 MB].

keshen-sponsors

 

Meet & Greet Monday Sept. 25

Please join us for the Mount English Meet and Greet!

  • Discover who we are and what we do.
  • Meet other English and Writing students.
  • Get to know the professors.
  • Learn about our programs.
  • Meet special guest, El Jones, poet, activist, and Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies.
  • Hear about upcoming events.

Refreshments will be served.

Current students and alumnae are invited!

Monday, September 25
4:30 – 6:00
Seton 404